Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within

Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within

4.3 46
by Natalie Goldberg
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

With insight, humor, and practicality, Natalie Goldberg inspires writers and would-be writers to take the leap into writing creatively and well. She offers suggestions, encouragement, and solid advice on many aspects of the writer's craft: on writing from "first thoughts" (keep your hand moving, don't cross out, just get it on paper), on listening (writing is ninety…  See more details below

Overview

With insight, humor, and practicality, Natalie Goldberg inspires writers and would-be writers to take the leap into writing creatively and well. She offers suggestions, encouragement, and solid advice on many aspects of the writer's craft: on writing from "first thoughts" (keep your hand moving, don't cross out, just get it on paper), on listening (writing is ninety percent listening; the deeper you listen, the better you write), on using verbs (verbs provide the energy of the sentence), on overcoming doubts (doubt is torture; don't listen to it) - even on choosing a restaurant in which to write. Goldberg, who has conducted writing workshops for beginners as well as professionals all over the United States, sees writing as a practice that helps writers comprehend the value of their lives. The advice in her book, provided in short, easy-to-read chapters with titles that reflect the author's witty approach ("Writing Is Not a McDonald's Hamburger," "Man Eats Car," "Be an Animal"), will inspire anyone who writes - or who longs to.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"I'm convinced that none of the writers of my acquaintance can go another day without a copy of Natalie Goldberg's magical manual Writing Down the Bones."—Linda Weltner, The Boston Globe

"The secret of creativity, Natalie Goldberg makes clear, is to subtract rules for writing, not add them. It's a process of 'uneducation' rather than education. Proof that she knows what she's talking about is abundant in her own sentences. They flow with speed and grace and accuracy and simplicity. It looks easy to a reader, but writers know it is the hardest writing of all."—Robert Pirsig, author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

School Library Journal
YA Goldberg will catch readers interested in writing with her opening confession that she was a ``goody-two-shoes all through school'' and should hold them until she pulls the last page from her typewriter, one ``Sunday night at eleven.'' Part writing guide, part Zen philosophy, and part personal diary, this book has the smooth, fast flow of a conversation with a good friend who, while struggling with her own writing, has picked up more than a few tips that she eagerly shares. Definitely not another ``how to write better themes'' or a rehash of the writing process, Goldberg's short, quirky chapters give the finer points of how to write in a restaurant and why bother to write at all. The earnest, slightly Bohemian, occasionally vulnerable voice will endear her to young writers who are looking not so much for a teacher or text as for validation that they can write and for some simple but intriguing tips to get them started. While there are the required chapters on using detail and keeping a journal, the most important thing Goldberg has to say to young people is that ``we have lived. Our moments are important. This is what it is to be a writer: to be the carrier of details that make up history. ''Carolyn Praytor Boyd, Episcopal High School, Bellaire, Tex.
Library Journal
02/01/2016
With warmth and enthusiasm, Goldberg combines Zen meditation with the practice of writing, advising writers to compose without inhibitions. (SLJ 2/87)

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781590302613
Publisher:
Shambhala Publications, Inc.
Publication date:
12/06/2005
Edition description:
Expanded
Pages:
224
Sales rank:
61,567
Product dimensions:
5.44(w) x 8.41(h) x 0.56(d)

Read an Excerpt

Foreword
 
"Julia, come on in! It’s great!" Natalie Goldberg’s voice carried over the roar of the Rio Grande river. She had invited me to go swimming, assuring me that our jumping-off point would be safe and placid. It was nothing like safe and placid. The river’s current was strong, and it took a strong swimmer—like Natalie—to brave its depths.

"Come on in," she called again, "You’ll love it." And so, egged on by her enthusiasm, I stepped into the current. It was both strong and swift. Losing my footing, I found myself sputtering. Natalie laughed. "Don’t you love it?" she called. "Just relax." True to her word, Natalie herself rode the current. "You’re doing fine," she assured me, as I mentally wrote my obituary, "Writer takes the plunge and drowns."

Asked to write a foreword to this, the thirtieth anniversary edition of Writing Down the Bones, I found myself remembering that afternoon on the Rio, and the way that Natalie’s bold enthusiasm lured me from the shore. “Why, it’s just like her teachings,” I realized. A million-plus readers have followed Natalie’s bold plunge into the world of words. "Just dive in," urges Natalie, teaching, "Begin where you are." Inspired by her conviction that all of us have lively stories to tell, Natalie’s students put pen to the page, following her enticing leads. Writing Down the Bones is a book of short essays. True to her word, she begins at the beginning: "Beginner’s mind, pen and paper." From there, it’s time to push off from the shore. "Keep your hand moving," she commands. "Don’t cross out, don’t worry about spelling, punctuation and grammar; lose control, don’t think, don’t get logical, go for the jugular."

In other words, take the plunge.
 
"Do you want a tomato?" It’s another afternoon with Natalie, twenty years later. This time, we are standing at her kitchen counter, and she is urging me to just take one succulent bite. The tomato is home-grown, plucked by Natalie’s own hand. And though I’m not used to eating a tomato like a peach, Natalie models the daring it takes to consider the tomato an end in itself, and not a mere ingredient.

"Why, it’s just like her teaching," I caught myself thinking. It’s a matter of appetite. It’s a matter of satisfaction. Natalie’s writing is filled with savory details. The tomato she plucked from her garden can yield an entire essay.

"Include original detail," Natalie urges her students. Our lives are filled with details, like the ripe red tomato plucked from the vine. Natalie’s writing is filled with food, and her appetite for life gives us food for thought.
 
—Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way
July 2015

Read More

Meet the Author

NATALIE GOLDBERG is the author of fourteen books, including Writing Down the Bones, which has changed the way writing is taught in this country. She teaches retreats nationally and internationally. She lives in New Mexico.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >